Today marks 20 years since the world stood still and watched on in horror as the 9/11 terrorist attacks played out.

The attack began after 19 men hijacked four commercial airplanes on the morning of September 11, 2001 and travelled towards major US landmarks.

It had been orchestrated by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

In total 2,753 people were killed at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhatten, New York, when two flights intentionally crashed into the north and south towers.

A further 184 people were killed at the Pentagon in Washington when American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the building.

40 passengers and crew died near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when a flight crashed into a field.

Among them were seven men and women from Essex.

Here we remember them.

Paul Gilbey

Braintree and Witham Times: Paul Gilbey, from Southend-on-Sea, a money trader with Euro Bank

Paul, from Southend, was a money trader with Euro Bank and worked on the 84th floor of the south tower.

Mr Gilbey, nicknamed Daisy by his colleagues, was born in London and grew up in Hockley.

He had worked in London until 1992 when he moved to New York, where he lived with second wife Deena and their sons Maxwell and Mason.

He had a daughter Hannah who had stayed in Shoebury with her mum, Jane Jones, who had been Mr Gilbey's first wife.

Kevin Dennis

Braintree and Witham Times: Trisha Bingley,from Clacton,with photo
of her son, Kevin Dennis

The 43-year-old bond trader was working on the 101st floor of the World Trade Centre when the planes struck.

Mr Dennis, had lived in St John's Wood before he moved to New York to work for Cantor Fitzgerald.

His mum Patricia Bingley, lives in Clacton.

Speaking in 2006 she said: "I think about Kevin when I wake up and when I go to bed.

"It will always be hard, especially at this time of year.

"9/11 is all over the television so you just can't get away from it."

Read more >> 9/11: The two minute video which shows why people will 'never forget'

Michele Beale

Braintree and Witham Times:

The 37-year-old, of Hillhouse Road, Billericay, perished in the twin towers on September 11.

A director with Risk Waters, Michele was attending a conference at the World Trade Centre in New York.

She had organised a prestigious two-day conference, her London-based company's first, at the centre.

Paying tribute at the time her husband Stuart, 36, said: "She was the best mother in the world and having to tell the children was very difficult."

Neil Robin Wright

Braintree and Witham Times: Neil Robin Wright, 30, an options broker from Tilbury

The 30-year-old was an options broker from Tilbury.

He was also in the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald in the north tower when the first plane hit.

The investment firm occupied the 101st to 105th floors of the tower – the exact impact point– and was the hardest hit in the attacks, losing 658 workers.

After the towers came down friends of Neil’s posted messages on 9/11 tribute websites describing him as a “wonderful person” who will be “missed forever”.

Neil lived in Chafford Hundred for a time and liked to drink in the Sandmartin pub in Grays.

Read more >> The story of the Twin Towers 9/11 terror attacks told in pictures

Jeremy Mark Carrington

Mr Carrington, 34, worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the WTC's north tower.

He was brought up in Essex and had moved to New York 12 years before the terror attack.

After he moved to the US he met his wife, Pattie.

Jeremy had survived the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre.

Michael Joseph Cunningham

The 39-year-old, originally from Essex, was a broker for Eurobrokers, in the south tower.

He lived in Princeton, New Jersey, with wife Teresa, 35.

His son Liam was 13 days old when his father was killed.

Simon Percy Maddison

Mr Maddison, 40, worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.

He lived with wife, Maureen, and three children in New Jersey.

He was originally from Harlow.

Vincent Wells

Braintree and Witham Times: Vincent Wells, 22, from Essex, worked for Cantor Fitzgerald

Mr Wells, 22, from Essex, worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.

He was working on the 105th floor of the north tower when the first plane struck

Mr Wells died just a week before his 23rd birthday in the attacks and was the youngest Briton to die.

He attended Trinity Catholic High School in Woodford Green from 1990 to 1997.

The school held a memorial service to Mr Wells every year.